In wake of widespread flooding, property cleaners in high demand
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The heavy rains that flooded homes and businesses — burying some under several inches of mud — have led to a deluge of calls to companies that restore water-damaged properties.
"It's nonstop. When we say 24/7 we actually mean it. Our phones have been ringing considerably," said Jeremy Schmalfeldt, general manager for Belfor Property Restoration in Aiea.
"This (is) very similar to the Tropical Depression Darby."
Schmalfeldt said there's so much storm damage on Kauai that his company will have to import dozens of workers from the mainland.
The high volume also means that homeowners could face long waits for repairs.
"Contractors are busy, everybody is busy," said Jewell Tuitele of the Angel Network Charities, a food bank operated by the Calvary-By-The-Sea Lutheran Church. "They were busy before the damage."
Schmalfeldt said most homes in flood zones are required by their lenders to buy flood insurance. But not all properties are covered.
"Unfortunately, I think some are stuck paying out of pocket," he said.
One Niu Valley homeowner recently found out that her flood insurance doesn't cover damage to her pool. She said it will cost her several thousand dollars to scrape the mud off of her pool bottom,
The Calvary-By-The Sea Lutheran Church's food pantry, which suffered $200,000 in damage, also was not covered for flooding.
"Everything is gone. Everything is gone. The water came in, it came up to 24 to 36 inches at one point," Tuitele said.
Meanwhile, the Calvary church suffered another $300,000 in damage to its preschool, playgrounds and office facilities, but that's covered by insurance. The church is now looking for temporary housing for its preschool, which serves about 60 children.
Pastor Tim Mason said that all the equipment that was swamped is unusable now.
"There's nothing we can use because we don't know what's in that mud. All of the computers and anything electrical are down," said Mason.
"They're all ruined."
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